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Local MP Kevin Anderson and Gunnedah Shire Council united in fight for Second Rail Overpass project to continue

Late yesterday, Gunnedah Shire Council General Manager Eric Groth, Director Infrastructure Services Wayne Kerr and Mayor Jamie Chaffey met with Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson to discuss progress on the promised second rail overpass in Gunnedah.

The meeting came about on the back of Gunnedah Shire Council’s October meeting where it was resolved that clarification be sought on the timeframe for the construction of the NSW Government’s proposed second rail overpass in Gunnedah. Initially, the project was given a completion date in 2016, and aside from the roundabout, further works are yet to commence.

During the meeting, Mr Anderson stated that he remained committed to delivering the project at an affordable cost to the community and the state. Mr Anderson will make representations to RMS and Minister Gay on behalf of the Gunnedah Shire Council and community.

Yesterday afternoon, prior to the meeting, Councillors participated in a discussion where all 9 Councillors were unanimous in their strong view that the project must be delivered for the benefit of the community, as promised on numerous occasions since 2012. “We’re disappointed at the lack of action, but look forward to working with Mr Anderson to ensure the project is completed” Gunnedah Shire Council Mayor Jamie Chaffey said.

The second road over rail bridge will provide an unrestricted Higher Mass Limit (HML) freight route through Gunnedah and will improve local traffic efficiency and road safety. The new route replaces the existing New Street level crossing which will be permanently closed as part of this project.

If the project does not go ahead, there will be a number of quite serious impacts for the Gunnedah community and users of state highways. Future impacts may include the closure of level crossings, banking of traffic through the town and the town being spilt in half every 30 minutes with only one access point between the northern and southern sides of town. This will mean significant wait times and raises concerns about access for emergency vehicles.

“The rail line splits the town into two during regular train movements. No other option will gain a second access over the rail line and deliver an outcome that supports our growing community” Councillor Chaffey continued.

When the commitment was made, The State Government proceeded to construct a roundabout worth more than $3million dollars, and undertook a range of technical, environmental and social investigations and concept designs at significant cost.

“A lot of money has been spent already on the project. Why throw that away? The unsubstantiated cost increase was created to stop the overpass construction proceeding as per the design that was promised to the community. I called on Mr Anderson to gain access to the complete cost justification from the RMS and suggested a third party review of the cost justifications. It’s quite simple really, I’m asking the State Government to pull the dollars back into line with the reality of the actual project and just build it” Mayor Chaffey concluded.


Media Contact: Eliza Gallen 6740 2100.